On Sunday The CIFS is reported that the incident they were called to attend at the George Town landfill this morning (Sunday, 8 March 2020) has become an escalating, challenging fire fanned by strong winds.
A large smoke plume was very visible in the afternoon and the Fire Service had called additional resources to scene’
The officials describe the situation as very dynamic and says CIFS is doing all it can to contain and prevent further escalation.
The Cayman Islands Fire Services (CIFS) responded to a surface fire at the George Town Landfill on Saturday, 7th March, 2020.
A statement issued by the Fire Department not long after the initial mobilisation of officers to the incident stated that crews had been tackling the fire and, “making good progress’ to prevent further spread and extinguish the fire.”
Flames and smoke were stoked by the strong winds, which have been prevailing in the Cayman Islands over the weekend, causing reinforcements from the West Bay Fire Station to be called in to support the effort.
“Fire offices are now working closely with their Department of Environmental Health ‘colleagues’ to excavate and extinguish any remain pockets of fires, as well as ‘damping down’ to cool surrounding areas to minimize the chance of any re-ignition,” read a statement from the CIFS.
However on Sunday, 8th March Fire service crews were recalled to the George Town Landfill at 9.15am.
In this instance there was no sign of fire or smoke, according to officials.
Nevertheless, the crews are saturating the area of concern and will continue to do so whilst monitoring the area throughout the night,
This is the most recent occurrence of fires at the George Town Landfill, after another fire broke out on 24th January 2020 at the site, referred to as ‘Mount-Trashmore’ by locals and residents.
There was also a four day fire at the landfill/dump between late February and early March, which had been caused by what officials refer to as ‘hotspots’.
A statement issued by a Government Information Service spokesperson stated that the Cayman Islands Fire Service and DEH staff were “excavating and damping down underground and sometimes deep-seated hotspots at the landfill site. This is part of their preventative strategy to significantly reduce the chance of a large well developed waste fire from impacting those living or working in the area.
“These particular hotspots were identified by DEH staff who are proactively looking for signs of sub-surface hotspot fires during their day-to-day operations.”
On 4 September, 12 September and 13 September of 2019 there were also fires at the landfill.
An environmental impact assessment for the George Town landfill is expected to begin early this year (2020) by the Decco Consortium, a Dart-owned entity.
Decco Consortium was awarded the contract to design, build and maintain new facilities as part of the Cayman’s Integrated Solid Waste Management System.
A spokesperson for Dart has been quoted on record, saying the EIA’s scope will consider the design and impact of the suggested facilities, which include a waste-to-energy facility, a materials recycling facility, green waste facility, a household waste recycling centre and a ‘lined’ landfill for residual waste in Grand Cayman.
The comments regarding the EIA fall on the heels of ongoing machinery failure at the George Town landfill.
The Department of Environmental Health’s only compactor, purchased for $450,000 in 2015, has been out of operation since late 2019, as the DEH awaited parts to be shipped to Cayman. It has since returned to service and was used to compact a backlog of household refuse and bulk waste materials that came into the landfill during the holiday season.
In October of last year, Dart announced that the landfill’s main mound would be capped.
The process of capping the landfill will be a partnership between the government and Dart. Officials in the Cayman Islands Government say funds have already been allocated in this regard.
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